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IzzysMom 05-12-2012 04:40 PM

Posterior Tibial Tendon Surgery and Driving
My husband needs to have a tendon transfer surgery for the posterior tibial tendon in his right foot. He is most concerned about the recovery time. His job requires a significant amount of driving and wants to know how soon after surgery he will be able to drive. Can anyone provide a little insight? Also, if there's any other information about recovery that anyone could give I would really appreciate it. Thank you!

roxygirl1 05-12-2012 07:53 PM

Re: Posterior Tibial Tendon Surgery and Driving
I had PTTD surgery on my left foot and didn't drive until I was weight bearing at about 9 weeks post op. If the surgery had been on my right foot, I couldn't imagine driving for 4-5 months. You have to be able to slam your foot the breaks in an emergency. It takes 7 months to a year to fully recover from the surgery. He should talk with his doctor about a time frame for driving. If he were in an accident and he was driving before the doctor deamed it safe, it could be a problem. I wish my answer was more positive for your husband.

IzzysMom 05-13-2012 08:28 AM

Re: Posterior Tibial Tendon Surgery and Driving
Thank you roxygirl1. It's not really what I was hoping to hear, but the doctor has been so vague with my husband because he really needs to have it done. He's starting to develop hip pain because he's overcompensating for the foot. I really appreciate you responding. At least now we can start planning.

roxygirl1 05-13-2012 12:52 PM

Re: Posteriorn Tibial Tendon Surgery and Driving
Make sure that you get a raised toilet seat. You can purchase one in any large pharmacy chain store or surgical supply store for about $50.00. A shower chair and cast cover are also very useful.. Look into renting a knee

wants to walk 05-13-2012 03:05 PM

Re: Posterior Tibial Tendon Surgery and Driving
Is he having other procedures in addition to the tendon transfer? Such as calcaneal osteotomy (cutting the heel bone off and sliding it to one side or the other and screwing it there? This is what I had on my right foot as well. I was non weight bearing for 11 weeks in casts then moved into an aircast. After about another 3 weeks I was able to drive-taking the aircast off to drive then putting it back on as soon as I parked. This made it about 3.5 months before I was driving. He does need to make sure that he can hit the brake hard if needed. I would leave a extra large slipper in the car to put on my foot when I was driving.

I made out just fine without the raised toilet seat but found a shower seat very helpful along with a body pillow to support my entire leg while elevating. At home, because I have hardwood floor, an office chair to move around on was a nice break from crutches and let me carry a cup of coffee or plate of food as well.

Keep ahead of the pain with pain meds, especially for the first week, even if he's feeling ok, once the pain gets a hold of him, it's hard to play catch up.

IzzysMom 05-13-2012 05:58 PM

Re: Posterior Tibial Tendon Surgery and Driving
Thank you Wants to Walk. The doctor doesn't know yet if he's having the osteotomy. I'm really not sure how bad my husband's foot is. I know there is a small tear in the tendon, and that he is in a lot of pain. The doctor did say it's not a question of "if" he has the surgery, but "when" he has the surgery. Your experience of driving in the 3.5 months definitely gave my husband hope. (After 12 weeks on short term disability his pay will be cut significantly- not to mention how bored he is going to get at home). He never even thought about how difficult it would be to carry food. That was great advice with the office chair!

And roxygirl1- Thank you for the additional advice about supplies to get. I'm going to start making my list of supplies now and try to get him everything he needs so it's less horrible for him.

My husband is so scared to do the surgery- he wants to try physical therapy but all of the PTs we've spoken to don't seem to think it will help- they all recommend the surgery. It's just very overwhelming.

One more question- were you home by yourself during recovery or did someone come and help you? I will be working full time so my husband will be on his own during the week. I'm worried about him. I can't imagine being home by myself, after this and not able to do much.

roxygirl1 05-13-2012 06:18 PM

Re: Posterior Tibial Tendon Surgery and Driving
How long will he be in the hospital. My husband was unemployed at the time of my surgery so he was able to help me. I would have found it very difficult to be on my home the first week or two. If you have a dorm sized fridge that you can put near the bed with some sandwiches, drinks etc it would help a lot. Is there a neighbor, family member that could be around for the first week or at the least drop in a few times a day? One thing that is very important is to stay ahead of the pain. Don't be a hero...take the pain meds as prescribed..especially the first few days

Fenn11 05-13-2012 09:40 PM

Re: Posterior Tibial Tendon Surgery and Driving
I'm just about 5 weeks post surgery (all-American reconstruction and bunionectomy). My husband works out of town during the week and my elderly father who lives with us broke his ankle a month before my surgery. My step-daughter is at school until 3:30. The first couple of days a friend would stop by in the morning, but after that I was, essentially, home alone. I didn't have room for a little fridge, but I got a little 3 drawer plastic cart on wheels for $10 at Walmart. I stocked it with crackers & other snacks, puzzle books, etc. I also made sure that before I was left alone I had a very large glass of ice water by my side. That way I only really needed to get up to go to the bathroom. Which quite frankly I tried to do as little as possible the first 2 weeks.

I'll echo the stay ahead of the pain! I spent one night in the hospital then went home with a prescription and instructions to take half as much as I took in the hospital. I have a very high pain threshold but that second night (first at home) can only be described as pure hell. I called my doc at 7 in the morning and got the ok to go back up. I probably took the pain meds a few days longer than I needed to because I was so afraid of getting back to that 9 or 10, but once stopped them a week and a half post surgery I've had no problems.

I went back to work after 3 weeks and have had swelling issues but ice and elevation take care of that pretty quickly. I'm hoping to can get an idea of when I can drive again at my next appointment on 5/23. (surgery was on my right foot.) hopefully the cast will come off and I'll be allowed to start bearing weight then.

Good luck to your husband!

IzzysMom 05-14-2012 05:26 AM

Re: Posterior Tibial Tendon Surgery and Driving
Wow Fenn11! I imagine everything going on in your life must have made the surgery seem even more overwhelming. I'm actually going back to work full time right before my husband's surgery so that our kids will be in daycare full time (otherwise my husband will definitely not get the rest he needs). I'm glad to hear you were able to get by those first few weeks mostly on your own. I hope my husband will be as strong (independent?) as you.

My husband currently takes a lot of pain medications, because in addition to his foot, he also suffers from fibromyalgia. I hope this hasn't raised his resistance to pain meds. I'm also hoping that alleviating (or at least significantly lessening) his pain from the torn PTT will reduce his fibromyalgia. I'm a true believer that everything is connected and one problem can cause a slew of others when not taken care of.

I'm wondering-- our house is a split level, so the bathrooms are on the bedroom level and the den level (none on the kitchen level). Would he better off on one of the bathroom levels, or should I just set him up with food/etc. on one of the levels with a bathroom?

He is so stressed every time I mention this surgery, that I'm trying to get everything prepared myself and now tell him as little as possible, so everything you all share with me is so appreciated and will certainly help me to make this experience more manageable for him!

And Fenn11- I hope your appointment on 5/23 has you with a short time frame for driving again! I know this cannot be easy, but it is wonderful to see so many people coming together on here to offer advice and support. I'm sorry I didn't find these boards sooner!

IzzysMom 05-14-2012 05:33 AM

Re: Posterior Tibial Tendon Surgery and Driving
roxygirl- our understanding is that my husband will be having outpatient surgery. When he calls his dr. this week, he needs to make sure of this. I read him your post- which made him nervous about being alone, and I'm glad. I've been trying to convince him that his mother should come stay with us for the week (or 2) following his surgery to help him while I'm at work. Thanks to your post, he now believes me and will be speaking to his mom.

I am always telling him to stay ahead of his pain (as a migraine sufferer, I know all too well how crucial this is). He's learning and I hope he sticks to it post surgery. I think him hearing everything from everyone on here means more than anything I (or his dr.) could say because you all speak from personal experience.!

Fenn11 05-14-2012 06:02 AM

Re: Posterior Tibial Tendon Surgery and Driving
Izzysmom, if you can set him up on a bathroom level I would. At least at first. It really does make things easier. Having to plan bathroom trips is bad enough, but adding in stairs will just make it even worse!

You need to factor in depression too. Seems like most of us do hit the depression wall shortly after surgery. Keeping him from feeling isolated will help with that. The feeling frustrated and useless part is another story... :-)

wants to walk 05-14-2012 03:00 PM

Re: Posterior Tibial Tendon Surgery and Driving
Being on a level with a bathroom is likely ideal. We all may have different experiences on crutches and some find them fairly easy-and others not so much. Also taking into consideration the effects that pain meds can have, even someone comfortable on crutches can have some challenges when drugged!!

I was outpatient as well-in at 10am, surgery around noon and released around 7pm. I asked for something for nausea after I was moved from recovery to the day surgery unit. I have had this before after surgery and they have always been very quick to throw up another IV bag and it takes care of it fast.

I had my surgery in July so I got the nice weather-my preference over being in a cast in snow and cold. At least he can get out later on, sit on a patio and enjoy some sunshine as it does wonders for the mood.

Stool softners can be very helpful afterwards-talk to your doctor -as narcotic meds often cause constipation.

My pain level after was tolerable and I did NOT have a nerve block as some others do-the worst of it was in the recovery room where they had to up my pain meds twice for me to get some relief. I woke up in a plaster cast which I had for one week (some are in a splint) then moved into fiberglass casts-I had 4of those over 11 weeks. I then had the screws removed (mine were quite different from most as they were left sticking out of my heel almost 2 inches from day 1) and then moved into the aircast.

Hopefully when he speaks to his doctor, he will have a clear picture and understanding of his own procedure and expected recovery.

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